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Alright People... Isn't It About Time We Discuss Windchill Pain Points?


Alright People... Isn't It About Time We Discuss Windchill Pain Points?

Hi Everyone...

I enjoy working in Creo and Windchill. If you've read PTC Community for any length of time you'd quickly come to the conclusion that they are among my favorite engineering tools. However, I'm also the first one to admit there are still some gaps in functionality, some very strange logic to the interfaces, and more than a little room for improvement.

While I don't necessarily want to start a 'gripe' thread, I've been using Windchill 10.1 long enough to notice several areas that need some attention- "pain points". We're moving to 10.2 soon and perhaps that will provide some relief. I'm only casually aware of the improvements to 10.2 so I apologize in advance if I'm mentioning items that have already been addressed. In the past, having a thread where people add their annoyances and vent their frustrations has been beneficial. I'm sure it's tough for the Windchill developers to read because people can be rather harsh in their criticisms.

I'd like to start out with some of my pain points. I'd like others to jump in and add their own, too. I'll use any feedback gathered here to start building a list of enhancements for Windchill that can be delivered to the Windchill Technical Committee for review and submission to PTC.


I have several roles using Windchill and Creo- one of them is "Windchill Business Administrator". In this role, I need to add/remove users from a product team, add folders, move objects, and generally poke around in a myriad of products and libraries. This was far easier in WC 9.1.

For example, if I wish to add a new user to a Product, I could formerly access the Team tab anytime after I'd selected a product. It was always available from the top menu bar. While I like the new, less cluttered interface far better than 9.1, the new interface is so minimal that the same procedure is more convoluted:

    • Open the side navigation panel (or select Browse to open the side panel and switch to the Browse tab)
    • Select Recent Products
    • Select View All (because we have 150+ products and the one I need is never in the list of "recent products")
    • Select the product I wish to work in
    • Re-open the side navigation panel (because selecting the product in the previous step closes it unless you remember to push in the small 'push pin' icon - which I never remember to do)
    • Select the "+" next to the product I wish to work in to access to expand it
    • Select Team (this displays all roles and the groups we've defined within them)
    • Select the "i" button next to the Group we wish to work on. If you wish to add a user to a group (which we always do), you must step into the group first and then add a member (which is annoying).
    • Select the Actions drop-down and select Edit Group
    • Select Next or click "Step 2" at the top of the screen to advance the wizard to the second step. (You almost never need to edit the data on the first screen but you always have to click through it anyway)
    • Select Add Members.
    • Search for the user I wish to add, move him/her to the participant list, and select OK.

Wow, only twelve easy steps! At the very least you should be able to right-click on a product (anywhere it appears) and select "Properties" (or "Options" or "Manage" or some other term) that gives you immediate access to these options:


This improvement alone chops the list of steps in half! To continue, let's say I was after the Team option like in the example above. I should be able to right-click on Team and select Add Members from a popup list. From the Add Members screen, I can currently select a User and the Role he/she should be assigned to. I can also select a Group and the Role that group should be assigned to. But I cannot select a User and the Group I want him/her placed in! By modifying the Add Members screen to have this option, you can cut the list down almost in half again.

The way I see it, this should be an operation that takes 4 steps MAX which would be a 75% reduction in effort to do the same task. Having to perform this same operation 2-3 times a day is really, really painful.


When I select the Products or Libraries icon in the side navigation bar and I need to View All products/libraries (instead of just the recent ones), list them in the side navigation window instead of collapsing the window and displaying the list in the main browser OR... display both. Before I'm pilloried, I need to mention I do know about the little pushpin. If you select the push pin on the navigator bar, it stays open. Still, having to select View All just so I can choose a product so it appears in the "recent" list is just silly. As soon as I hit View All, the list should expand to show all Products/Libraries I have access to view. There should not be extra steps.


After all this time, why is there still no option for an administrator to see all workspaces for another user from all contexts? If I know the specific context where I might find a user's workspace, I can see it. If a user leaves the 'company' and I have no idea what context he used to work in, I have to do detective work to determine where he might have a workspace so I can search for it and delete it. Why not just provide the ability to search by user name and pull up all workspaces from all contexts? This functionality gap feels like the kind of thing that happens when the people writing the software don't actually have to use it all day every day.

Hopefully that gets the ball rolling. If anyone has solutions to my pain points... or (more likely) pain points of their own, please post them. I'm a firm believer that if we don't speak up, PTC can't take steps to address our problems.




Re above...

#1 - For this reason, we make every effort to map all possible to Org-level Groups and avoid requiring any changes to Context Teams.

#2 - Agree

#3 - Query Builder Reports are the answer to this, and many, many other things. It's super laborious and error prone to one by one go to each context or each OIR, etc. in order to examine and possibly change it. We have gradually found ways to get Reports to show all this stuff over time. It's the only real way to have all in one place to examine. You still have to go to each context but at least you can see the results in one place. It seems fundamentally backward throughout Windchill that you can't at least that something exists from Site or Org in the Prod/Lib contexts.

Thanks Mike...

I keep trying to connect with you at the Technical Committees but I always miss the chance. First, I wanted to thank you for the Oracle advice. Although we stopped chatting, we were able to implement the exact procedures you recommended with dramatic results. Most 'small' searches that formerly took 8-9 seconds were practically instantaneous. Larger searches that took 30-40 seconds were completing in 7-10 seconds. The performance improvement was really instantly noticeable. Of course, as usual, we didn't even receive a pat on the back for it but thanks so much for your help.

About the post above...

(1) We have so many contexts... and we would never be allowed to lump all "Designers" into one large group. So that means we'd make ORG level groups and just call them "ContextA_Designers", "ContextB_Designers", and then assign them to the context teams? Am I getting that right? If so... I see how that might improve things quite a bit.

(3) I'm not great with reports yet but I'll focus some attention there. I'd love to know what other uses you've found for them.

Thanks again for everything...


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